The Battle of Waterberg - Namibia Safari and Lodges - Gondwana Collection

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Take our outstretched hand and let us introduce you to our extraordinary country, Namibia. From the massive chasms of the Fish River Canyon, the fossilised dunes of the Namib Desert and the red sands of the Kalahari Desert to the waterways of the Kavango and Zambezi, there are countless marvels to behold. Explore this awe-inspiring wilderness from the warmth of our lodges, created with conservation cognizance and ample character. And return to relax after an exciting day of discovery.

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10-Day Namibian Highlights Tour
Enjoy Namibia’s most popular destinations on this compact guided tour that incorporates visits to the Kalahari and Namib deserts – including the famed Sossusvlei dunes, the intriguing coastal town of Swakopmund, the Twyfelfontein rock engravings and Etosha National Park. more

3 Day / 2 Night – Sossusvlei Shuttle Safari
Exciting adventures await those who partake in this exhilarating safari to Sossusvlei, one of the most spectacular sites in the world. The magnificent star dunes are a photographer’s dream and the spectacular landscape will leave memories to last a lifetime. more

Namibia Road Map 2018/19

Anyone touring Namibia should definitely take our road map along. It is available from Gondwana free of charge, or as pdf download. This map features fascinating experiences plus recommended accommodation. At the same time it is an ordinary road map with all the essential information of the official Namibia road map by Prof. Uwe Jäschke and the Roads Authority of Namibia.

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Discover Namibia’s main attractions.

This package offers a four-wheel drive vehicle and a thirteen day trip through the beautiful Namibian landscapes. Starting from Windhoek you will head south, into the Kalahari where your first night will be spent enjoying the sunset at the Kalahari Anib Lodge.

 

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Go Epic

Experience Namibia's famed locations.

Take eleven days to discover Namibia in an Epic way. This self drive safari - which includes a four-wheel drive vehicle - will take you to the famous Namibian locations that will make you long for the vast open spaces long after you return home. Starting in Windhoek you will head south to the Kalahari Desert.

 

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Go Wild

Track Namibia's awesome wildlife.

This 12 day self drive safari includes a four-wheel drive vehicle and stopovers at all major wildlife-viewing sites. Starting from Windhoek you will head towards the famous Etosha National Park, where 3 nights will be enjoyed at the unique Etosha Safari Camp.

 

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Enjoy an active Namibian adventure.

We offer a comprehensive travel service including car rental, accommodation, safaris and self-drive itineraries and day trips. Interested? For detailed information and vehicle specifications of our Renault Dusters SUV 4WD and Toyota Hilux Double Cabs 4x4, please click below.

 

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The Battle of Waterberg

Avatar of inke inke - 14. August 2015 - Discover Namibia

Schutztruppe Camp at the Waterberg Mountain. Source: National Archives of Namibia

Hereros and Germans had been at war for seven months in the former colony of German South West Africa on 11 August 1904. Led by paramount chief Samuel Maharero the main force of the Hereros was concentrated at the southeastern flank of Waterberg Mountain, accompanied by women, children and old people as well as cattle and goats. There were several springs and waterholes and there was grazing for the livestock. Present-day agricultural experts estimate that up to 15,000 people and their animals could live on that side of the Waterberg for several weeks. Based on this number, historians believe that the Herero force was up to 3000 men strong.  

German general Lothar von Trotha, who succeeded Theodor Leutwein as commander of the Schutztruppe (colonial troops) in July 1904, had a force of 2500 men at his disposal (Tröndle 2012). He planned to encircle the Hereros and inflict a crushing defeat.  On his instruction a large prison camp was set up at Okahandja.

But apparently he overestimated the military clout of his troops and greatly underestimated the firepower of the Hereros. Armed with muzzle-loaders and breech-loaders, they knew the area like the back of their hands, were used to fighting in the bush and were well rested. In places that provided strategic advantages they engaged the German columns as they advanced from several directions. One of the units lost its way, and the effect of the 30 cannons and 14 machine guns remained mediocre in the dense bush. Finally the Hereros stopped firing, probably because they ran out of ammunition. The losses on the German side were 26 dead and 60 wounded. The Hereros’ losses are unknown.

Escape into death

Samuel Maharero and his followers decided after the battle of Hamakari to flee through the Kalahari into the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland (Botswana). Taking a large a part of their livestock with them they escaped eastward through a gap between the German lines. The Schutztruppe’s supplies were low and the soldiers and their horses were exhausted. Pursuit was taken up only two days later but soon had to be given up. This was a military failure for General von Trotha.

But the trek of the Hereros through the bush savannah of the Kalahari turned into a catastrophe. The waterholes did not have nearly enough water for so many people. Some historians believe that the Herero settlement area east of the Waterberg had good rains during the rainy season that year but that hardly any rain had fallen further east. It is not known how many people died on the way. According to figures from the British Protectorate only some 1400 Hereros made it across the border. 

Von Trotha ordered his troops to occupy the waterholes on the western fringe of the Kalahari and on 2 October he issued his infamous shoot-to-kill order, declaring that: “Any Herero found within the German borders with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot. I will no longer admit women or children, I will send them back to their people or have them shot at.” The order was suspended several weeks later following the outrage it caused in Germany and other countries and von Trotha was called back to Germany.  

Thousands of Hereros managed to survive in the bush in small groups. Farms were repeatedly raided despite extensive Schutztruppe patrols. This finally led newly appointed governor Friedrich von Lindequist to promise the Hereros on 1 December 1905 that anyone reporting to the authorities would be treated fairly and given food and clothes. At the same time he asked the missionaries to help because many Hereros still trusted them. As a result of his appeal more than 12,000 Hereros were taken in and disarmed at the missionaries’ four collection camps up to October 1906.  

Thousands die in concentration camps

From the collection points the Hereros were sent to concentration camps in Windhoek, Swakopmund and Lüderitz, modelled on the camps set up by the British during the Boer War, and were used for hard labour on projects such as railway construction work. Von Lindequist did not keep his promise: provisions were bad and thousands of prisoners died of illness or exhaustion. Almost 7700 deaths, some 30 percent of the number of prisoners, were registered from October 1904 until March 1907. 

The situation only began to improve a little after Major Ludwig von Estorff published an indignant report on the conditions in the camp on Shark Island off Lüderitz. All prisoners were released on 27 January 1908, the birthday of Emperor Wilhelm II.

The result of the conflict was gruesome. From a population of between 60,000 and 80,000 before the war the number of Hereros dwindled to no more than 19,423 as recorded in the 1911 census. Taking the refugees in Bechuanaland and elsewhere outside the German domain into consideration the total number was thought to be 20,000 to 25,000. This means that between 35,000 and 60,000 Hereros died as a result of the war. This was more than half of their people, perhaps even as much as 75 percent.

The survivors found themselves in a world where they were no longer at home. The land on which they had lived before the war had been confiscated and was sold to German settlers. Hereros were not allowed to keep livestock. All that was left was for them to work on farms and in towns or live in one of the reservations. 

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